iOS 9’s space-saving ‘app slicing’ feature gets delayed

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Watch OS2 review: more app potential but killer feature still missing.

All of the new watchfaces are picture- or video-based, including six time-lapse faces depicting cityscapes in Hong Kong, Mack Lake, Paris, New York, Shanghai and London.Netflix updated its apps for Apple iOS devices to let users subscribe to the service directly using in-app purchases on iPhones or iPads, announcing the feature with an assist from two stars of its popular original series “Orange Is the New Black.” The No. 1 streaming service first launched iOS apps in 2010, but until now required customers to already have signed up on the web (or have opened a new Netflix account through an Apple TV set-top). The company has added in-app purchases to its iOS apps that allow you to subscribe directly from the Netflix app on your iPhone or iPad, taking after other streaming services such as HBO Now, Spotify, and Hulu, all of which already supported in-app subscription. The update is available as an OTA download for all the devices that support iOS 9. iOS 9.0.1 will fix a bug which was reported by many users wherein the device stuck on the ‘Slide to Upgrade’ screen after updating to iOS 9 or while restoring from a backup.

If anything, it’s an acknowledgement of the rapid rise of mobile-video viewing, and the fact that smartphones and tablets are the primary screen for entertainment among a growing mass of people. Netflix may have resisted offering in-app purchases because of Apple’s policy of charging app publishers 30% on top of the price of the digital content or service. The number of apps is limited at the moment, but a good example is Citymapper, which puts the estimated time of arrival of any planned journey in a complication. The Federal Trade Commission this summer launched a probe into the so-called “App Store tax” or “Apple tax” as it pertains to the Apple Music service, investigating whether the policy is unfair to third-party music subscription services like Spotify or Rdio. However, the iCloud bug, which keeps users from downloading their apps to new devices, is forcing Apple to push universal apps to users for the time being.

The complications also act as buttons to quickly launch the app, rather than having to hunt for them in the app grid, swipe through a glance or ask Siri. It also fixes an issue in Safari and Photos where pausing a video could cause the paused frame to appear distorted. iOS 9.0.1 also fixes an issue that caused many users with a custom APN setup via a profile settings to lose mobile data. Earlier this year, Recode reported that Apple was only charging high-profile streaming companies — including Netflix, Hulu, and MLB.tv — a 15 percent tax rate for subscribers who signed up through Apple TV, rather than the typical 30 percent.

Music industry sources have railed against App Store tax, arguing that it allows Apple’s own Apple Music an unfair price advantage over rivals like Spotify and Rdio, and allows the company to exert undue influence on the industry. Apple’s official App Store Twitter account referenced Netflix’s OITNB clip with a cry-laugh emoticon, but relations may not be so cordial if — as is widely rumored — Apple launches its own streaming TV service.

Other watchfaces, such as Astronomy or Solar, will run through their animations when the dial is turned, while you can make Mickey dance by moving his hands backwards and forwards. That would put both companies into direct competition, and could set up a similar situation to that currently unfolding in the music industry, with Apple able to charge its competitors money every time they get a new iOS subscriber. Beyond amusing animations, I found it quicker to dive into the dedicated app to view my upcoming appointments or weather than it was to turn the crown.

Wi-Fi calling is also built-in, which means you don’t need a phone to place a call if being Dick Tracey is your thing and your mobile phone provider supports it – currently EE and Vodafone in the UK. Apple has also added activation lock for if the smartwatch ever gets stolen – a feature the iPhone has had for a while and was conspicuously missing when the Apple Watch launched. We’re not talking leagues faster – I still routinely got the loading screen while the app attempted to pull data from the iPhone – but at least a little.

Developers can do more now, including accessing the sensors and various hardware features of the Watch, so I suspect that will open the door to much better, more function apps in the future. And it is still not obvious when you should force touch, when you should swipe left or right, or when you simply have to scroll to the bottom to get stuff done. It doesn’t cost anything, brings a bunch of security fixes, activation lock and unlocks greater app possibilities, so I don’t know why you would not install watchOS on an Apple Watch if you have one.

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